New name reflects mission and service to Cook County residents and region
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that the County’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has been renamed to the Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS). Additionally, the department will also use the official Cook County seal instead as its logo moving forward. The County Board of Commissioners approved the name change during their proceedings last week.
“This department has worked tirelessly over the last decade to ensure our residents’ safety and security,” said President Preckwinkle. “We listened to our residents’ concerns and took action. Cook County government is here to represent and serve all who live and visit our community – it’s my hope that today’s action reflects that.”
“While our name has changed, the important work we do remains the same,” said William Barnes, executive director of EMRS. “This new name accurately reflects the department’s core mission as an emergency management agency and also reinforces our role in ensuring security within our municipalities and surrounding communities. All of the department’s efforts are aimed at best equipping Cook County for any incident, whether natural or human-caused.”
Under the leadership of President Preckwinkle, the department has enacted training for thousands of first responders, funded cybersecurity initiatives throughout the County and supported dozens of municipalities with personnel and equipment during both natural as well as human-caused events. The department coordinated and funded a law enforcement Narcan initiative in conjunction with more than two dozen local police departments and created a “leading through crisis” curriculum to help local municipalities prepare for emergencies.
The department also completed the largest hazard mitigation plan in the U.S., allowing the County and participating municipalities access to federal grant funds to help mitigate natural hazards and to recover from natural disasters.